I have the second best job in the world that of Film Critic. You are probably thinking: “how come she is a film critic and I’m not. I like movies.” First and foremost, I like to write and movie critics can’t just go to movies, they have to write about movies. It’s not as easy as you might think.
Some critics give you a blow by blow description of the movie. When I read a review like that, I don’t want to go to see the film. All the surprises are gone so I feel I have to give a synopsis but not an in depth description after all I want you to go to good movies and I want you to stay home from bad movies and save your money. Being a film critic is a powerful responsibility or at least I think so but I am getting away from how I became a film critic, my bio as it were.
In 1998-9 I went to film school at UCLA quite by accident. I had written four or five scripts that I thought were pretty good and I wanted to get them produced so I talked my mother and neighbor into running my cleaning business and taking care of my two Scottie dogs, Angus and McKeever, for a week or two while I headed to Hollywood to stay with my friend Linda Ostrin. (I ended up renting a cot in her living room for a year.)
I had read a book Screenwriting 434 by Lew Hunter who was Chair of the Television, Film and Theatre department at UCLA so I went to campus to find him but he wasn’t there. He left a phone number so I called him. His graduate 434 class was starting that Wednesday night. Lew invited me to sit in on the class because writers, producers and directors would attend the class. I loved it. I signed up the next day. I called home and said I was staying for 5 weeks. At the end of the class, Lew told me I needed to stay for the graduate program for professional screenwriters. I did. Making that call home was not pleasant. So what started as a two week vacation ended up a year long ordeal for my family.
At UCLA, we were required to intern (for free!) with industry directors and producers. I learned what makes a good film: story, acting directing cinematography, sound, music and production (sets, costumes, and location)
I am digressing. My friend Jill Moon, an editor for the Telegraph, knew I could write because I have written things for the Telegraph in the past. One night, over sushi, I started talking about film school. Jill was putting together a new magazine for the paper and wanted to know if I would consider writing a column about movies. I jumped at the chance. Although we were never able to get the magazine off the ground my column was born. It now appears every Thursday on the front page of the ACCENT section of the Telegraph and online at thetelegraph.com
Now you may wonder what I think would be the first best job. It would be having my screenplays produced.